Love does not Boast
Prepare your Heart
Spend some time reading today’s verses multiple times. Make sure to read them in context of the verses around them, the chapter they are in, and the book they are in. Before beginning today’s devotion, take time to prepare your heart before the Lord in prayer. Ask that God, through His Spirit, would bring to life the truths of today’s verses and help you see how they apply to your life. While this journal is a tool to guide your time with the Lord, nothing can replace the power of personal prayer and preparation.
“Love… does not parade itself…”
1 Corinthians 13:4
“As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died.” — Galatians 6:14
“8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” — Ephesians 2:8-9
“Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil.” — James 4:16
If you love your child, spouse, or friend, you will want to boast about their accomplishments. So why does it say that love does not boast? The New King James Version has a colorful translation. It says love does not parade itself. It has within it the idea of the person who must continually talk about himself in order to impress others. This is similar to jealousy, except instead of being envious of others, you just brag on yourself. It is one thing to be proud of your accomplishments. It is quite another to be fishing for the praise and admiration of others.
In order to love the way God describes, you have to have a sober view of self. All good blessings are from above. Without God, you would have nothing good in your life. You owe all of your success to your Heavenly Father. This is why it is folly to boast in yourself. You are essentially taking the glory away from God and placing the spotlight on yourself.
Love requires that you see others as neither above or below you. Christians are but sinners saved by grace. We are all struggling through life and yet have more blessings than we deserve. God is pleased to lavish His love upon you. Paul had been blessed by God in great ways, yet He was always humble about his provisions and made it his aim to only boast in the cross. This mindset was unusual and many people did not know how to understand it. They claimed he was being fake or showing a false humility. But those that knew him the best were well aware of his sober-mindedness and his true love for those around him. There is a self-effacing quality in love. True love will always be far more impressed with others than its own merit.
Questions for Thought:
- Do you strongly desire the praise of people? Is it something that you seek out? What does that say about you? What would God like to do with that mindset?
- How can a desire for praise ruin your ability to love another?
God’s Mission, Your Mission
Your mission involves loving others. Therefore, you must take the spotlight off of yourself. First, you must give God all the credit. Occasionally you will catch an athlete who understands this. The athlete trained extremely hard, put in countless hours, turned down temptations, and performed at a high level. Yet at the end of the game, you will occasionally hear them say, “All glory goes to God who made all of this possible…” That person understands how life works and, because of that, they can effectively love others.
Second, love means that you compliment others when they do good. This is a wonderful antidote for bragging. Try being intentional about bragging on others. Go out of your way to compliment. More often than not it will catch people by surprise because so many have been trained to be envious or threatened by another’s success. So surprise someone with a great big compliment and watch God work in their life.